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China The Media News

State Media Rushing Into Coverage Void Left By Dying Newspapers 250

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the east-vs-west-propaganda dept.
derekmead writes "As newspaper budgets shrink, state-sponsored media outlets like RT, China Daily, and Al Jazeera have grown, hired more writers and offered more (free) coverage. Mark Mackinnon, writing for The Globe and Mail, explains the issue well: 'Throughout the recent crisis in Syria, and before that in Libya and Egypt, Xinhua and RT News have thrown unprecedented money and resources at reporting from the scene, even as Western media scale back on their own efforts. It's not too far-fetched to imagine a near future where it's Xinhua or RT, rather than the Associated Press or BBC, that have the only correspondents on the scene of an international crisis, meaning the world will only get Beijing or Moscow's version of what's happening.' But quality coverage still requires money, which means finding funding from somewhere. You see the effects of this every day: If your revenue is based mostly off of pay-per-click banner ads, a lowest-common denominator post, like a cheap roundup of cat pictures, is quite possibly going to pull in way more views for less money than a nuanced, deeply reported, and expensive dispatch from Syria. And, yeah, ads can be a bummer, especially when they're executed poorly, and paywalls aren't great. But when the alternatives are either fluffy, thin reporting; or worse, blatantly biased coverage sponsored by governments, we have to find a palatable way to fund good reporting."
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State Media Rushing Into Coverage Void Left By Dying Newspapers

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  • Comment of note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by el_flynn (1279) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:27AM (#40450197) Homepage

    From TFA: "This isn’t about who rakes in the advertising dollars – there’s precious few of those these days for anyone – it’s about the global conversation, and who gets to frame it."

    I think that statement gets it spot on. In those few words, you can read a lot between the lines: elements of capitalism, paranoia and perspective.

    It's kind of a wordplay on the oft-cited "history is written by the victor" phrase. Only this time round, TFA makes it like history is written by he who has the most money.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:33AM (#40450219) Homepage

    I am sorry but, I want to choose what news I want for what ever interests me at the moment even backwater God-forsaken parts of the world like the Southern United States. Sometimes it's interesting and sometimes it's not, the parts that aren't interesting at the time I simply don't read. Internet news it's about being a global news provider, about competing supplying the 'TRUTH' globally.

    Truth is important as the internet really does bite back when you lie, sometimes it takes longer than other times but unlike old world media rules when lies were forgotten, new internet rules means you get caught out for the lies eventually and lose readers as a result, no likes to be lied to except US Republican voters.

    So give me it all, in full detail about the whole globe, and let me choose at the time which parts I find interesting and which I will skip by. Give me good head stories with variety to see if they spark my interest, every country in the world, in full detail and I will choose what I am interested in when. Often picking up on something occurring in another part of the world no matter how obscure or God forsaken like Southern USA, 'BEFORE' it occurs at home is truly beneficial.

    Corporations making record profits, unemployment, never ending pollution incidents, police out of control, political corruption, advertising as news, endless celebrity crap, no matter how repetitious US news has become the clown show is still fascinating 'at times'.

  • by rbrausse (1319883) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:42AM (#40450263)

    I think the point of this TFS sentence was western media vs middle east/far east one's, as a second spin additionally to private vs state-sponsored broadcasters.

  • Pay for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisebabo (638845) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:44AM (#40450269) Journal

    Look, obtaining good information isn't always easy (and sometimes can get you killed as the rising numbers of killed journalists will attest to). It is also VERY valuable, if the person playing the devils advocate wants to live WITH the deprived information access of the middle ages, he should be prepared to live IN the middle ages. Haven't you heard of the trite expression "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance?. Well information is like a real-time version of education and is probably even more valuable. (Ok, the devils advocate has a point about not necessarily needing instantaneous access but I still contend good information and Analysis is very worthwhile).

    Unfortunately the world is now being divided into the rich, educated and well informed and the poor, uneducated and ignorant. Sadly, in many countries (like the U.S.) it is a self-reinforcing cycle where the uneducated ignorant don't realize that they're uneducated and ignorant. So they vote for policies that put them even further behind not understanding that the "liberal elites" are abandoning them to their fates and putting their kids in private schools etc. I'm looking at you, you home schooled creationist anti-global warming religious fanatics (not just Fundamentalist Christian but Ultra-Orthodox Jews and don't even get me started on madras attending Muslims).

    Just as I'm a proud taxpayer because I feel it buys civilization (as opposed to Somalia), I immediately signed on to the NYTimes pay service without even bothering with the one month free trial. It buys very good journalism (as opposed to Fox).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:47AM (#40450285)

    Whitehall's version of events is pretty much the same as Wall Street's, so it's a good alternative for those who prefer their news to be biased in favour of big business instead of biased in favour of a particular state (which is, after all, the complaint here; that corporate bias is being replaced by state bias, not that the amount of bias is changing).

  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:47AM (#40450287)

    Yes I know, the Syria whatever-the-fuck-happens-there could theoretically very slightly affect me through the butterfly effect but really... not worth my immediate interest. Give me the high level overview: Syria dudes are still beating each other; China launched some satellite; USA still has crushing debt and Greece goes down the drain. Have a nice day!

    When your politicians go war on false premises, or authorise extra funding for Saudi Arabia/Pakistan/Israel/..., I guarantee events in Syra/Iran/Other countries you consider unimportant will have a major impact on the finances of your country, the way your money is spent, and on the course of your life. The news that is presented to you (particularly when it is in digest form as you seem to prefer) dictates how you think about world events, whether you think that Pakistan is a hotbed of islamists which sponsors terror, or a staunch US ally which receives billions a year and bulwark against communism, or both, whether you think that Iraq is a useful ally against Iran and worth supporting (1980s) or an evil dictatorship (1990s). That in turn dictates who you might support or vote for in US elections, and where your taxes will be spent around the world and on your military.

    When the time comes that the US decides to stop managing an empire of satellite states and dependencies abroad, that'll be the time you can stop worrying about anything but local news. I agree that local news is more important, particularly for more trivial items, but international news is incredibly important - if you want to make decisions on international events you should try to be well informed about them - if you don't want to have to bother with that, encourage your government to stop interfering in the rest of the world (a habit not unique to the US, so this applies to citizens of any country really).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:59AM (#40450317)

    Sadly reason isn't exactly an emblem of unbiased reporting either.

  • by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:20AM (#40450401) Journal

    or any other news channel

    RT's coverage of Syria shooting down Turkish plane is enlightening on that point:

    Turkey's downed jet: NATO action in disguise? [rt.com]

    It's quite a thorough analysis, and a totally different spin than anything I had heard on BBC, RTE (Ireland) or US news sources. I guess all news sources are biased, and you need to take more than one point of view if you want to be able to form your own balanced opinion.

  • by starworks5 (139327) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:26AM (#40450425) Homepage

    While people in the west were crediting facebook and twitter for organizing the arab spring, the leaders in the middle east understood that it was al jazeera that actually was responsible for forming perceptions, in some ways it exerts more influence in the middle east than any other regime in the world. I suggest that interested individuals read "propaganda" by Edward Burnayes, whom was the nephew of Sigmud Freud but far more influential, by being responsible for corporate perception management in the USA. Of course the internet has thrown the media a curve ball, but they still hold asymmetrical power and influence, which is why governments want to filter out the internet.

    I recently found this [wikimedia.org] to be good source of main world information, especially if you read it 2-3 days delayed. Clean short description of what is happening in the world. Without ads.

    This is an example of what post journalism should look like, more like citation based research conducted by qualified agents using the scientific method, analyzed and automated using Natural language processing and statistics including "reporters" as datasets. Once people can have a reasonable objective certainty of what is true and false, it will get alot easier to separate the wheat from the chaff in politics. However none of this will ever occur if we don't fight for the net neutrality and freedom of information, information asymmetry will be used to manipulate people and consensus for ulterior motives.

  • by arcite (661011) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:30AM (#40450443)
    We live in a globalized world. I live and work in Egypt, colleagues work in Washington, I have family in Canada, friends in a dozen other countries. The world is a small place. I'm not even American, but I'm amazed at the ignorance of most Americans toward their own status in the world. The USA is deeply involved in most conflicts around the world, though I would argue in a positive way. Furthering the cause of freedom and democracy for the downtrodden and oppressed. The moment most Americans stop caring about this fact though, then all hope is lost. So, perhaps instead of deriding the reality that exists outside of your comfy bubble, perhaps you could educate yourself and become wiser.
  • by starworks5 (139327) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:31AM (#40450453) Homepage

    The BBC USED to be government controlled, now it is a private corporation that is government funded. However the purpose and "company culture" that prevaded the BBC USED to be about public service, while in the west it was about propaganda and advertising, which is why the BBC was funded by taxes in the first place. However over the years things have changed, while the BBC is certainly better than the american media, has deviated from its traditional values considerably.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:55AM (#40450547)


    I'm not American, and I see US media spin as a symptom of corporate sickness in the UK.

    RT is about as fair and balanced as Fox News.

  • by windcask (1795642) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @07:32AM (#40450703) Homepage Journal

    I guess all news sources are biased, and you need to take more than one point of view if you want to be able to form your own balanced opinion.

    I'm glad at least one person on Slashdot gets it. It's not "Fox News Lies!" or "MSNBC Lies!," "RT Lies!," "BBC Lies!," etc. They all have skin in the game and they have a particular mindset and worldview to which they want to cater. You're not going be able to go out there and verify everything they say, so all you can do is try to get as many angles on an issue as you can in order to grasp the reality of the situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @08:02AM (#40450849)

    Unfortunately the BBC TV is no longer the 'bastion of truth' that it used to be. With the introduction of 24hr news, it has fallen into the trap of chasing quick and cheap headlines , much like a tabloid newspaper, and is really now just a marketing outlet for better prepared organizations to deliver their message to one and all. Look for any searching questions or background checks on the 'experts' and you will be watching for a long, long time. It is quite rare to find strong cases made for issues against the BBC's own agenda, which is of course very left of center politically. BBC radio is a better option for informed debate and comment.

    Contrast that with RT. Laughable you say ?
    Well, I find some of the programmes far more informative since they actually debate and argue the issues rather than delivering the official line, as with the BBC.

    Lets take a look at three progs from RT that you wouldn't get on the state sponsored BBC.

    Julian Assange show: The world tomorrow.
    Love him or hate him, what you get is influential world figures giving their point of view direct.
    Far more informative than the spun versions of isolated quotes you get in mainstream.

    Keiser report:
    Difficult to find too much wrong with the logic delivered by this guy.
    Alternatively, you can listen to the BBC , IMF, Euro muppets etc. telling you every 6 months that "The banks are NOW solvent".
    (at least even they have been questioning the rhetoric recently, but it took some years AND they simply don't dig deep enough)

    Cross Talk:
    You actually get debates / heated arguments about the issues. Again, much better than some PR exec delivering a sermon.

    So I'd say that if you want to have a rounded , informed opinion, then you need to take channels such as RT onboard and not dismiss them as some 1970's Soviet mouthpiece, which I'm sure they were in the past. They even had a debate criticizing Putin heavily a while back when he was being re-elected.

  • by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @08:22AM (#40450981)

    I'd rather take several different state-funded television stations than several corporate-funded ones. The latter all have similar agendas because their funding all comes from the same place, the former tend to report accurately when their particular state is not involved and thus tend to complement each other.

  • by strikeleader (937501) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:25AM (#40451563)
    And of course the state funded/agenda funded media like CBS, ABC, NBC,and CNN.
  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:38AM (#40451695)

    Just like the Pax Romana and the Pax Britannica ended so will the Pax Americana also end when the USA stops protecting client/allied states.

    How can you talk of 'Pax Americana' when America is currently embroiled in two occupations, and several eternal wars (e.g. war against drugs, war against error) - or are these merely police actions where tens of thousands of civilians happened to die? These are/were serious wars, and there is and has been no Pax Americana (at least not in the last few decades). Those not in the military in the states can perhaps kid themselves that this is some kind of peace, but it's not long lasting and not perceived as peace by the rest of the world. If the last decades of invasions, threatened nuclear armageddon and terror are peace, you can keep it.

    Protecting client/allied states (Nato for example) is entirely different from funding terror (via Pakistan ISI, or the Mujahideen for example), funding revolutions (Iran), funding religious states (Israel), setting up secret prisons around the world, invading Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe next Iran. That's just misguided empire building, it's not legitimate defence. Regardless of your opinion of whether these interventions are in the interests of the US, if your government is investing huge amounts of your budget in the military and in military aid, and the lives of your armed forces in foreign intervention, it behooves you to find out exactly what they are doing and why.

  • by DriedClexler (814907) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:41AM (#40451737)

    Hey, that's a neat trick!

    "State government's aren't funded by sales taxes, they're funded by a license fee on retail purchases."

    "Local public schools aren't funded by property taxes, they're funded by a land-ownership license fee."

    "Roads aren't funded by gasoline taxes, they're funded by the pump license."

    What's next? "We don't send people to jail, they just go on a 'Graybar Vacation'."

    I'm stupid enough to be fooled by labels ... and I vote!

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:52AM (#40451845)

    The BBC is funded via the TV license, not taxation. It is not government controlled, it is an independent entity.

    That's a distinction without a difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @10:44AM (#40452309)

    "What it does not do well is original, unbiased research."

    The traditional media don't do that either.

    1) It may turn up information sponsors don't want known.
    2) It may criticise a group who will complain to sponsors
    3) It may embarrass the owners
    4) It's more work
    5) Nobody cares

    although that last one is the perception of the marketing department and owners more than the truth. It's true enough for enough people to keep making money, though. The internet does a much better job of unbiased research. In fact, doing ANY research at all is better than traditional media manage today.

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud